In a bid to stem a massive exodus of skilled workers such as doctors, lawyers and nurses from Zimbabwe, the government is to pay out more than US$2 million to key members of the civil service. President Robert Mugabes government has allocated Z$550m as part of a skills retention package. Washington Mbizvo, who chairs a special government taskforce on skills retention, told the state-controlled Herald, that Z$121m would go towards improving conditions of service for recently trained doctors serving in remote rural districts. Last month, junior doctors at major hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo went on strike to protest at their deployment to the countryside. They said there were no drugs, equipment or decent accommodation or amenities at district hospitals. "We will give them (recently trained doctors) furniture, refrigerators, stoves, television sets and beds as incentives for rural deployment," said Mbizvo.